Studies suggest that average employees waste up to 80 percent of their time “cyberloafing.” The study, titled “Computers in Human Behavior,” was conducted to determine how much time average employees truly spend on work related tasks.
The research was conducted by Joseph Ugrin of Kansas State University along with John Pearson of Southern Illinois University. The men sought to determine how much time employees spend “cyberloafing,” or wasting time on the internet, when they are expected to be performing work related tasks. The research also explored company policies and enforcement related to “cyberloafing.”
The study suggests that older and younger employees both waste time online. As reported by newswire, the difference is the content. Younger people are more prone to wasting time on social networking sites, while older employees are more likely to be monitoring the stock market.
Ugrin suggests that deterrence, in the form of company policy, may work for some employees. However, his research reveals that there are still employees wasting up to 80 percent of their time “cyberloafing,” despite policies that forbid it.
The solution, according to Urgin, is to address underlying attitudes:
“We found that that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behavior. Just having a policy in place did not change their attitudes or behavior at all. Even when they knew they were being monitored, they still did not care.”
It is suggested that employers tighten policies and make employees aware of punishment others have received for similar activity. Urgin, as reported by CBS St. Louis, encourages employers to find a balance between the “looming threat of managerial reprimand” and simply allowing employees to continue wasting up to 80 percent of their time “cyberloafing.”
While productivity depends on employees who are efficient and dedicated to completing their work, the perception of being constantly watched can destroy employee morale. An effective compromise is a necessity.
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